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Royal Rumble: Through The Years (Part 4, 2006-2010)

by Scrooge McSuck

Royal Rumble Through the Years

Last time in our re-visiting of the Royal Rumble, we took a look at each Rumble from 2000 through 2005, and it was like comparing night and day with what we suffered through in Part 2. 2004 might be the best Royal Rumble Match of all-time (arguably, of course), 2001 isn’t too shabby, and the weakest of the batch were still pretty good compared to the Mid-Late 90’s. This time around, we kick things off with the year 2006 and I’m going to be honest... from 2008 through 2011, I fell completely out of love with wrestling and don’t have as much knowledge of the product for those years, so apologies in advance if there’s anything I miss or incorrectly identify....

2006 (January 26th, American Airlines Arena @ Miami, FL)

Participant Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. Triple H, 2. Rey Mysterio, 3. Simon Dean, 4. Psicosis, 5. Ric Flair, 6. The Big Show, 7. Jonathon Coachman, 8. Bobby Lashley, 9. Kane, 10. Sylvan, 11. Carlito, 12. Chris Benoit, 13. Booker T, 14. Joey Mercury, 15. Tatanka, 16. Johnny Nitro, 17. Trevor Murdoch, 18. Eugene, 19. Animal, 20. Rob Van Dam, 21. Orlando Jordan, 22. Chavo Guerrero, 23. Matt Hardy, 24. Super Crazy, 25. Shawn Michaels, 26. Chris Masters, 27. Viscera, 28. Shelton Benjamin, 29. Goldust, 30. Randy Orton

1. Simon Dean (by Mysterio & HHH), 2. Psicosis (by Mysterio), 3. Ric Flair (by HHH), 4. Jonathon Coachman (by Big Show), 5. Sylvan (by Lashley), 6. Bobby Lashley (by Kane & Show), 7. Big Show (by HHH), 8. Kane (by HHH), 9. Booker T (by Benoit), 10. Animal (by RVD), 11. Chavo Guerrero (by HHH), 12. Tatanka (by MNM), 13. Trevor Murdoch (by Michaels), 14. Matt Hardy (by Viscera), 15. Eugene (by Benoit), 16. Super Crazy (by RVD & Mysterio), 17. Chris Benoit (by Orton), 18. Viscera (by Masters & Carlito), 19. Chris Masters (by Carlito), 20. Goldust (by RVD), 21. Orlando Jordan (by Orton), 22. Joey Mercury (by Michaels), 23. Johnny Nitro (by Michaels), 24. Shelton Benjamin (by Michaels), 25. Shawn Michaels (illegally by Shane McMahon), 26. Carlito (by RVD), 27. Rob Van Dam (by HHH & Mysterio), 28. Triple H (by Mysterio), 29. Randy Orton (by Mysterio), WINNER: REY MYSTERIO

Rumble Match Rating: The first half of the Rumble I have very little to complain about. With the exception of booking the top heel like a babyface, there were some decent sequences, the obvious dead-weight of the match was dealt with in timely fashion, and there was decent star power. Then the second half just fell apart, with too much cluttering in the ring, and the "story of the match" just laying around like a defenseless slug. I know its easy to hate on the match just for the "Doing it for Eddie" angle, but the actual performances and booking of the match really hits the skids and doesn’t recover enough to make it a good Rumble. [**1/2]

    The Undercard...
  1. Gregory Helms def. Kid Kash, Funaki, Jamie Noble, Paul London, and Nunzio for the Cruiserweight Championship in a Cruiserweight Open Challenge Match. Helms was on Raw at the time, while Smackdown was the exclusive home for the Title. Match barely went 7-minutes, thus guarantees that no individual will actually get over. Anyone else forget about the Noble/Kash version of the Pitbulls? [**]
  2. Mickie James def. Ashley, with Trish Stratus as the Special Referee. Trish in the referee’s outfit was the best part of the match. Mickie James' awkward sexual advances comes in second. The match ending is third. [1/2*]
  3. The Boogeyman squashed JBL in less than 2-minutes. [DUD]
  4. John Cena def. Edge to regain the WWE Championship. Edge cashed in the first ever Money in the Bank briefcase at New Years Revolution, a finish that seemed fresh and shocking at the time. The big decision to follow that up is to have Cena win the belt back two weeks later in a so-so rematch. [**]
  5. Kurt Angle def. Mark Henry to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the show-closing match just for the sake of the post-match shenanigans where the evil forces of the Undertaker destroyed the ring. [ * ]

2007 (January 28th, AT&T Center @ San Antonio, TX)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...

1. Ric Flair, 2. Finlay, 3. Kenny Dykstra, 4. Matt Hardy, 5. Edge, 6. Tommy Dreamer, 7. Sabu, 8. Gregory Helms, 9. Shelton Benjamin, 10. Kane, 11. CM Punk, 12. King Booker, 13. Super Crazy, 14. Jeff Hardy, 15. The Sandman, 16. Randy Orton, 17. Chris Benoit, 18. Rob Van Dam, 19. Viscera, 20. Johnny Nitro, 21. Kevin Thorn, 22. Hardcore Holly, 23. Shawn Michaels, 24. Chris Masters, 25. Chavo Guerrero, 26. Montel Vontavious Porter, 27. Carlito, 28. The Great Khali, 29. The Miz, 30. The Undertaker

1. Ric Flair (by Edge), 2. Kenny Dykstra (by Edge), 3. Tommy Dreamer (by Kane), 4. Sabu (by Kane), 5. Gregory Helms (by Booker), 6. The Sandman (by Booker), 7. Super Crazy (by Rated RKO), 8. Jeff Hardy (by Edge), 9. Matt Hardy (by Orton), 10. King Booker (by Kane), 11. Kane (illegally by Booker), 12. Finlay (by Michaels), 13. Viscera (by 8 Superstars), 14. Shelton Benjamin (by Michaels), 15. Johnny Nitro (by Benoit), 16. Kevin Thorn (by Benoit), 17. Chris Masters (by RVD), 18. Hardcore Holly (by Khali), 19. Chris Benoit (by Khali), 20. The Miz (by Khali), 21. Rob Van Dam (by Khali), 22. CM Punk (by Khali), 23. Carlito (by Khali), 24. Chavo Guerrero (by Khali), 25. The Great Khali (by Undertaker), 26. Montel Vontavious Porter (by Undertaker), 27. Randy Orton (by Michaels), 28. Edge (by Michaels), 29. Shawn Michaels (by Undertaker), WINNER: THE UNDERTAKER

Rumble Match Rating: A change of pace from the usual complaints, as the match suffered from too much clutter early and often, but then the last 15-minutes really kicked ass, with the Great Khali clearing the ring of more than half the remaining field, Undertaker coming in to take care of him, the sequences with Rated RKO vs. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, and finally the final sequence between the Undertaker and Michaels. If not for the last 10-15 minutes, this is definitely one of the weakest Rumbles. With it, it holds up well enough to not give a thumbs down. [***1/4]

    The Undercard...
  1. The Hardys def. MNM in a rematch from the infamous ECW December to Dismember PPV. I didn’t care much for the Hardy Boyz/Hardyz/Team Extreme reunion, but to be fair, I completely soured on the product by this point. Too long (again), but it serves its purpose. [***]
  2. Lashley def. Test by Count-Out to retain the ECW Championship. Yep, ECW was back. Yep, Test was back and given a renewed push based on his not-so-clean-choice-of-muscle-enhancing. Yep, this match sucked. [DUD]
  3. Batista def. Mr. Kennedy to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. What was this, the month of trying out new challengers to see if any of them stick? Batista usually falls under two categories: matches that are surprisingly great, and then matches that fit at the level we usually expect of him. This was the latter. [*1/2]
  4. John Cena def. Umaga to retain the WWE Championship in a Last Man Standing Match. Umaga’s first defeat since being introduced after WrestleMania. At the time the PPV took place, I had zero hope for this match and was almost wishing for it to be terrible to finally end Umaga’s push. Then Cena proves why he can be one of the best at carrying limited opponents and sometimes "smart" fans need to grow the fuck up. [****1/4]

2008 (January 27th, Madison Square Garden @ New York, NY)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...

1. The Undertaker, 2. Shawn Michaels, 3. Santino Marella, 4. The Great Khali, 5. Hardcore Holly, 6. John Morrison, 7. Tommy Dreamer, 8. Batista, 9. Hornswoggle, 10. Chuck Palumbo, 11. Jamie Noble, 12. CM Punk, 13. Cody Rhodes, 14. Umaga, 15. Snitsky, 16. The Miz, 17. Shelton Benjamin, 18. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, 19. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, 20. Kane, 21. Carlito, 22. Mick Foley, 23. Mr. Kennedy, 24. Big Daddy V, 25. Mark Henry, 26. Chavo Guerrero, 27. Finlay, 28. Elijah Burke, 29. Triple H, 30. John Cena

1. Santino Marella (by Undertaker), 2. The Great Khali (by Undertaker), 3. Tommy Dreamer (by Batista), 4. Jamie Noble (by Palumbo), 5. Chuck Palumbo (by Punk), 6. Hardcore Holly (by Umaga), 7. Shelton Benjamin (by Michaels), 8. Roddy Piper (by Kane), 9. Jimmy Snuka (by Kane), 10. Snitsky (by Undertaker), 11. The Undertaker (by Michaels), 12. Shawn Michaels (by Kennedy), 13. The Miz (by Hornswoggle), 14. John Morrison (by Kane), 15. Hornswoggle (Forfeit), 16. Finlay (Disqualified), 17. CM Punk (by Chavo), 18. Cody Rhodes (by HHH), 19. Big Daddy V (by HHH), 20. Elijah Burke (by Foley), 21. Mick Foley (by HHH), 22. Carlito (by Cena), 23. Chavo Guerrero (by Cena), 24. Mark Henry (by Cena), 25. Mr. Kennedy (By Batista), 26. Umaga (by Batista), 27. Kane (by HHH & Batista), 28. Batista (by HHH), 29. Triple H (by Cena), WINNER: JOHN CENA

Rumble Match Rating: Another example of starting the match on the right foot and ending it strong, but having a whole lot of nothing in the middle. When some of the "highlights" of the middle section of the match is a battle of 60 year olds in Snuka and Piper and Shelton Benjamin being thrown out in about 15-seconds, there’s obviously not a whole lot of meat to it. Still, Taker vs. Michaels was a good match-long little story, even if the crowded ring hurt things more than it helped, and everything from Triple H’s entrance and onward (including Cena’s surprise return) is some good stuff. [***]

    The Undercard...
  1. Ric Flair def. Montel Vontavious Porter to avoid being forced into retirement. MVP was the reigning US Champion, but this was Non-Title for obvious reasons. The Flair storyline culminated at WrestleMania with a loss to Shawn Michaels. [**]
  2. JBL def. Chris Jericho by Disqualification. Jericho recently came back, had a short feud with Randy Orton, and was put into this nonsense with JBL, who was mostly retired for the last couple of years. This definitely is an odd period for me to look back on. [*1/2]
  3. Edge def. Rey Mysterio to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Edge has lackies Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins with him, who just dropped the "Major Brothers" gimmick from hell. Vicki Guerrero took the bullet to save Edge from defeat because she’s a pro who deserved better treatment throughout her time in WWE. [***3/4]
  4. Randy Orton def. Jeff Hardy to retain the WWE Championship. Decent match, but to be honest... I just never liked Jeff Hardy. Sorry. Any time he loses is a good night of entertainment for me. [**1/2]

2009 (January 25th, Joe Louis Arena @ Detroit, MI)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...
1. Rey Mysterio, 2. John Morrison, 3. Carlito, 4. Montel Vontavious Porter, 5. The Great Khali, 6. Vladimir Kozlov, 7. Triple H, 8. Randy Orton, 9. JTG, 10. Ted Dibiase Jr., 11. Chris Jericho, 12. Mike Knox, 13. The Miz, 14. Finlay, 15. Cody Rhodes, 16. The Undertaker, 17. Goldust, 18. CM Punk, 19. Mark Henry, 20. Shelton Benjamin, 21. William Regal, 22. Kofi Kingston, 23. Kane, 24. R-Truth, 25. Rob Van Dam, 26. The Brian Kendrick, 27. Dolph Ziggler, 28. Santino Marella, 29. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, 30. The Big Show

1. The Great Khali (by Kozlov), 2. Montel Vontavious Porter (by Kozlov), 3. Carlito (by Kozlov), 4. Vladimir Kozlov (by HHH), 5. The Miz (by HHH), 6. John Morrison (by HHH), 7. JTG (by Undertaker), 8. Goldust (by Rhodes), 9. Mark Henry (by Mysterio), 10. Shelton Benjamin (by Undertaker), 11. William Regal (by Punk), 12. Kofi Kingston (by Kendrick), 13. The Brian Kendrick (by HHH), 14. Dolph Ziggler (by Kane), 15. Santino Marella (by Kane), 16. Jim Duggan (by Big Show), 17. R-Truth (by Big Show), 18. CM Punk (by Big Show), 19. Mike Knox (by Big Show), 20. Rey Mysterio (by Big Show), 21. Finlay (by Kane), 22. Rob Van Dam (by Jericho), 23. Chris Jericho (by Undertaker), 24. Kane (by Legacy), 25. Big Show (by Orton), 26. The Undertaker (by Big Show), 27. Ted Dibiase (by HHH), 28. Cody Rhodes (by HHH), 29. Triple H (by Orton), WINNER: RANDY ORTON

Rumble Match Rating: Long and dull. I don’t even have much to say to bad-mouth it, since it wasn’t a booking disaster like 1999. There’s too many guys in the ring for almost the entire match, with a ridiculous amount of people spending extended lengths of time in there doing nothing. One of the easiest things to book for this Rumble is the dominance of Legacy, and they didn’t even do that! The only memorable moment from this Rumble was Santino’s breaking of an infamous record. [*1/2]

    The Undercard...
  1. Jack Swagger def. Matt Hardy to retain the ECW Championship. WWE trying to push it as anything more than a midcard belt on the level of the US Title would be ridiculous, with names like Swagger and Chavo holding the belt over the last 12-months. Decent match, nothing special. [**1/4]
  2. Melina def. Beth Phoenix for the WWE Women’s Championship. Sloppy match and the crowd didn’t care. [1/2*]
  3. John Cena def. JBL to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Part of the "interesting" storyline where Shawn Michaels went broke through bad financial planning and the market crashing or whatever nonsense WWE tried to incorporate into their storylines. If JBL wins, he will pay Michaels enough to retire AND grant him a Rumble spot. OK? Match is the same so-so effort from these two. [**1/2]
  4. Edge def. Jeff Hardy for the WWE Championship thanks to interference from Matt Hardy. The original plan was for Christian to make his WWE return and take care of business, but "too many people expected it", so plans were changed and we got this instead. Hardy vs. Hardy Part 3. Or 4. I lost track. [***1/2]

2010 (January 31st, The Philips Arena @ Atlanta, GA)

Participants Order of Entry and Elimination...

1. Dolph Ziggler, 2. Evan Bourne, 3. CM Punk, 4. JTG, 5. The Great Khali, 6. Beth Phoenix, 7. Zack Ryder, 8. Triple H, 9. Drew McIntyre, 10. Ted Dibiase, 11. John Morrison, 12. Kane, 13. Cody Rhodes, 14. Montel Vontavious Porter, 15. Carlito, 16. The Miz, 17. Matt Hardy, 18. Shawn Michaels, 19. John Cena, 20. Shelton Benjamin, 21. Yoshi Tatsu, 22. The Big Show, 23. Mark Henry, 24. Chris Masters, 25. R-Truth, 26. Jack Swagger, 27. Kofi Kingston, 28. Chris Jericho, 29. Edge, 30. Batista

1. Evan Bourne (by Punk), 2. Dolph Ziggler (by Punk), 3. JTG (by Punk), 4. The Great Khali (by Phoenix), 5. Beth Phoenix (by Punk), 6. Zack Ryder (by Punk), 7. CM Punk (by HHH), 8. The Miz (by MVP), 9. MVP (by own momentum), 10. Matt Hardy (by Kane), 11. Kane (by HHH), 12. Carlito (by Michaels), 13. Cody Rhodes (by Michaels), 14. Ted Dibiase (by Michaels), 15. John Morrison (by Michaels), 16. Drew McIntyre (by HHH & Michaels), 17. Triple H (by Michaels), 18. Shelton Benjamin (by Cena), 19. Yoshi Tatsu (by Cena), 20. Chris Masters (by Show), 21. Mark Henry (by Truth), 22. Big Show (by Truth), 23. Jack Swagger (by Kofi), 24. R-Truth (by Kofi), 25. Kofi Kingston (by Cena), 26. Chris Jericho (by Edge), 27. Shawn Michaels (by Batista), 28. Batista (by Cena), 29. John Cena (by Edge), WINNER: EDGE

Rumble Match Rating: Great Rumble from start to finish. We got off on a good note with CM Punk dominating the field of weak participants and doing something that seemed fresh. There was a short sequence of filling the ring, but that was quickly justified when Shawn Michaels cleared the ring out almost single-handedly, culminating in a surprise elimination of his best friend and co-holder of the Tag Titles, Triple H. From there it was Cena and Shawn dominating the ring, a quick Battle of the Bulge, the heart-breaking elimination of Shawn Michaels, and the surprise return and victory for Edge. This might’ve been the last great Rumble Match. [****1/2]

    The Undercard...
  1. Christian def. Ezekial Jackson to retain the ECW Championship. This was the last PPV to feature the ECW Brand, as they converted the weekly show into "NXT", and no, not "NXT" as we know it now. Decent match, but damn if I have much to say about Zeke other than he’s big and black and he was hired muscle at one point for THE Brian Kendrick. [**1/2]
  2. The Miz def. Montel Vontavious Porter to retain the US Championship. Standard TV Match, doesn’t help that neither guy is that good of a worker. [**]
  3. Sheamus def. Randy Orton by Disqualification to retain the WWE Championship when Cody Rhodes interfered. Is this the beginning of Legacy falling apart? Sheamus vs. Orton will always stand out in my mind as a match that nobody, smart fans or marks, ever want to see. [**1/2]
  4. Mickie James def. Michelle McCool for the Women’s Championship in about 30-seconds in what should’ve been the end of the Piggie James nonsense, with the title switch and babyface giving the heels what they had coming to them, but I’m pretty sure they pushed the angle further and then just buried Mickie further before letting her go. [NR]
  5. The Undertaker def. Rey Mysterio to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The size difference really makes it hard to make Rey a believable opponent for Taker, but they worked hard for the little amount of time allowed. [***1/2]

Final Thoughts: You can definitely see a lot of inconsistent effort and performances in this batch of Rumbles. 2006 will forever leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth with the exploitation of Eddie Guerrero’s name, and that’s not taking into account that the actual work in the match was really weak. 2007 and 2008 started and finished strong, but suffered from over-crowded middle portions. 2009 completely went off the tracks, giving us very little worth remembering and was just a bunch of guys doing the lazy lean for half-an-hour. We ended the stretch with the best Royal Rumble since 2005, a strong performance both creatively and from the talent in the match, complete with another chapter in the HBK/Undertaker chapter and the big surprise finish with Edge. We will conclude our trip down the Rumble Memory Lane™ with 2011-2015... this is going to be rough.

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